Artful sets sail

The latest technologically advanced attack submarine HMS Artful (S121) built by BAE Systems set sail from its facility in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, for sea trials on August 13. Commander Bower said: «I am immensely proud and honoured to be leading the crew of Artful. Her capabilities are extraordinary and represent the next step in our country’s century-long history of operating submarines».

HMS Artful (S121) will now join HMS Astute (S119) and HMS Ambush (S120)
HMS Artful (S121) will now join HMS Astute (S119) and HMS Ambush (S120)

Tony Johns, Managing Director, BAE Systems Submarines said: «Seeing Artful exit from Barrow on August 13 is the culmination of a huge amount of hard work from everyone at BAE Systems, our partners and the hundreds of businesses in our supply chain network. BAE Systems in Barrow is a world-class facility, designing and building submarines that are some of the most sophisticated engineering projects in the world. Everyone involved in the Astute programme should feel immensely proud of their achievements as the third in class Astute submarine reaches this significant milestone».

The design and build of the Astute class is a highly complex engineering feat. The 7,400-tonne attack submarines measure 318 feet/97 metres and are powered by nuclear reactors. Each submarine is armed with Spearfish torpedoes and Tomahawk land attack missiles.

Artful is the third Astute class submarine to have been built by BAE Systems. Seven of the class have been commissioned in total and the remaining four boats are currently under construction.

Commander Bower said: «The crew, alongside the workers at BAE Systems have done a sterling job in generating more than a million parts into a submarine. Artful will be home to more than 100 men, and can spend months at a time submerged. She is able to generate her own air and water; food will be her only limiting factor. Having left Barrow, a period of trials begins to put the submarine through her paces, proving all of her systems before she officially becomes part of the Royal Navy’s fleet».

The Astute submarine programme is a key part of our £163 billion plan
The Astute submarine programme is a key part of our £163 billion plan

Artful will follow her sister submarines to Her Majesty’s Naval Base Clyde in Scotland.

  1. HMS Astute (S119)
  2. HMS Ambush (S120)
  3. HMS Artful (S121)
  4. Audacious (S122)
  5. Anson (S123)
  6. Agamemnon (S124)
  7. Ajax (S125)


Artful, the latest Astute class submarine built by BAE Systems setting sail from Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, for sea trials